Council approves new economic development programs, applauds term limits for committees


December 28, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Buildings that are no longer used, or potentially dangerous, may soon be demolished with the help of LB 840 funds.

Term limits were discussed for committees and boards at the Dec. 19 Kimball City Council meeting, and though council members were in favor of some limits, they later voiced a need for long-term experience on boards and committees.

Special Projects Coordinator, Amy Sapp, proposed term limits specifically for the Citizen's Advisory Committee and the Loan Advisory Committee, both under the Economic Development Board.

"A lot of the economic development organizations have term limits on their committees. The purpose is so that you don't become stagnant – you are getting new ideas, younger people with fresh ideas," Sapp said. "We've met with the Citizen's Advisory Committee and they were all for it. We get so set on the people that are in that we don't ask (for new members)."

Council members voiced approval for staggered term limits on both the Citizen's Advisory Committee and the Loan Advisory Committee.

"In an effort to try to be like some of the other Economic Development organizations that are succeeding, we have gone through the plan and made some changes," Sapp said. "I have a couple programs that I want to introduce to Kimball using the LB 840 funds, and in order to do so, we are going to have to change some of the verbiage in the (economic development) plan."

Other amendments suggested the local Economic Development Plan include introducing a new program, available to individuals as well as businesses, that could encourage property owners to demolish outdated, unsafe or unseemly structures.

"One of the programs that I will be introducing later is a demolition program," Sapp said. "The City of O'Neill has been very successful offering this program as a way kickstart some redevelopment in the area."

"What we are doing is...growing that potential," council member Kim Baliman said.

The potential for workforce is also on Sapp's list to grow using LB840 funding.

"We have a shortage of workforce, as of right now the unemployment rate in Kimball is 2.3 percent," Sapp said. "So how do we, through Economic Development bridge that gap?"

She broached a community-wide internship program for students aged 15 through college students. The program would pay half of the intern's minimum wage through LB840 funds up to 40 hours in a reimbursement to the company.

"I wonder why we don't get someone from school in these jobs trainings?" she asked. "Those in college might find a job they like and return to Kimball after college to live and work."

Another long awaited amenity, the walking trail at Janicek Dam, was cleaned up recently by volunteers, according to Jan Sears, president of the Kimball Area Foundation.

Sears reported that a group worked for a total of 31 volunteer hours cleaning the area up, clearing several truckloads of debris from the space.

She asked council to agree to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the walking trail before a fund can be set up and the concept can move forward.

Sapp added that once the walking trail is complete, nominal maintenance may be necessary from the City of Kimball, which would be billed through the foundation for reimbursement.

"As a minimal trail, maintenance is going to basically be making sure the sides of the trail are maintained and keep the weeds down," City Administrator Dan Dean said. "The immediate plan, depending on the engineer and design, is to use asphalt regrinds to create the trail so there may be a little pothole fixing. That is the extent of it, at least for the time being. I don't see it as an onerous burden on the City."

Matching funds will be needed to support the project, which would be the first of several concepts to go into the area.

"I just want to remind everybody that in Nebraska people are choosing their home based off of amenities, not work. So, not moving forward with this could be detrimental," Sapp said. "If matching funds (needed for the Howard and Peggy Atkins trust) for the walking trail is not raised, that money will go to something else – one idea is the parks."

Council members voted unanimously to approve the new plans and amend the Economic Development Plan, which is in a draft form and may yet be further amended, to allow for the presented projects.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018